Olayinka Ajao: Rekindling the flame of LAUTECH, By Simbo Olorunfemi

In establishing Oyo State University of Technology in 1990, the founding fathers had a clear objective for it not to be just another university. Their desire was for a university that would produce self-reliant graduates who would lead the charge in the technological and industrial development of Nigeria, which was why they made it a University of Technology. In line with their objective, the university commenced its first academic session on 19 October 1990, with 436 candidates enrolled in the faculties of Agricultural Sciences, Environmental science Sciences, Engineering and Management Sciences, and Pure and Applied Sciences, with the College of Health Sciences was established a year later.

Following the separation of Osun State from Oyo State, the university’s name was changed to Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, but the dream remained the same. The University has been consistently ranked high by national and international organisations, with ‘The Times Higher Education’ rating LAUTECH as the 11th best university in Nigeria and the number one State University in Nigeria. LAUTECH, which now has 12 Faculties, a post-graduate school, and other centres, with over 40,000 students currently enrolled across 52 departments, has produced thousands of graduates who have continued to live up to the dream of the founding fathers, becoming leading lights in the technological space in Nigeria.

One of those leading lights is Olayinka Ajao, who enrolled in the University shortly after it was founded to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He would, upon graduation, join the telecommunications industry, which was just beginning to take shape with the licensing of the first set of companies for GSM operations. In 2001, Ajao joined one of the leading telecommunications companies in Nigeria as a foundation member of Staff, starting a career that would eventually establish him as one of Nigeria’s seasoned Telecommunications experts.  He functioned in different capacities across the industry as a Network Systems Engineer, Technical Support Engineer, and RF Planning & Optimization Engineer (Ericsson & Huawei Equipment), before he was appointed Head of Network Planning/Programme Management at Helios Towers Nigeria in 2008 till 2013 when he left to set up his company, Zyetechcom Integrated Services Nigeria Limited, which has grown to become a major player in the collocation section of telecommunications, with a network of tower-infrastructure to across the country.

With strength in diagnosing complex issues and conceptualizing innovative solutions, Olayinka Ajao, over the last 2 decades, established his name in the industry for his proactive and creative approach to addressing diverse challenges within the realm of Radio Frequency Planning and Optimization, receiving several awards for reducing congestion and drop calls on the network. He would further excel in the development of Towerco infrastructure, earning the CEO Outstanding Performance Award at Helios Towers for his role in growing the Towerco infrastructure of the company from 50 to 1000.

Following on the success he has made of Zyetechcom Integrated Services Nigeria Limited, Olayinka Ajao later expanded his line of business, venturing into Agriculture with the establishment of Harvestmax Agro-Allied Nig Ltd and a property company, Giggles Properties Limited in 2021, which he has grown into a major player in the real estate industry, with portfolio across multiple cities.

Olayinka Ajao is quick to tell those who ask that what has helped him on his journey is his passion for excellence, continuous learning, and a commitment to creating enduring value. Beyond his degree and certification in Engineering as well as extensive training in different aspects of telecommunications, he has earned an MBA as well as numerous certifications at home and abroad in Computer Engineering, Project Management, Leadership, etc., including one from Harvard Law School Programme on Negotiation.

Beyond business, Ajao has demonstrated a keen sense of compassion and passion for community service. This would lead him to set up the Jolade and Adeyi Foundation, which he says was inspired by his “deep-rooted connection” to his heritage and the philanthropic legacies of Mrs. Jolade Mary Ajao and Mr. Adeyi Suleiman.  Through that organization, he has empowered various individuals with limited economic means in Ogbomoso and other parts of Nigeria, rendering different forms of support to the underprivileged and aiding the enrolment of 50 high school students in Ogbomoso for this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Board examination.

Buoyed by the dream planted in him at LAUTECH, Olayinka Ajao has remained grounded, always looking back to see how he can help those who might have been left behind while ensuring that the flame of the university keeps burning. Beyond other forms of support rendered over the years, he recently decided to up the ante, committing to the building of a Lecture Theatre for the use of the University. This, he says, is his way of giving back to an institution that gave so much to him, laying the foundation for everything he has been able to accomplish. Future generations of students deserve a better learning environment than the one he had to better prepare them for the demands of the future, he says.

The LAUTECH Community has been paying attention to the activities of Olayinka Ajao in its immediate environment and the country at large, hence the decision to confer on him the award of the honourary Degree of Doctor of Technology, D.Tech (honoris causa) at the 16th Convocation ceremonies of the university holding later this month. It is, no doubt, a recognition that is truly deserved and a tribute to a man who, propelled by the dream of the founding fathers of the university, has taken to town what he got from the gown and has made exceptional contributions to the growth of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria and development of the people and his community. Between him and LAUTECH, this is a fitting way of rekindling the flame that was lit in 1990.



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